This Parsha sees the beginning of the process of redemption. Despite great expectations however, the Parsha ends somewhat anticlimactically and gives rise to some questions. Firstly, while the institution of chapters in the Torah is a Christian invention and of no real significance, the way the Parshas are divided up was determined by Chazal. Why then does the Parsha end in the middle of the story, with fairly little having been achieved? Also, a more general question. Why did H’ not simply forcibly take Yisroel out of Egypt? Why does there have to be the gradual process of the ten plagues?

The Kli Yakar offers a stunning approach that helps deal with these two problems. He says that apart from the actual leaving from Egypt, another component of the Redemption was that Paroh should come to certain theological realisations. What exactly were the principles Paroh denied? The Kli Yakar mentions three specific claims that Paroh made. 1. That H’ does not exist. 2. Even if there is a G-D, He does not involve Himself with the minor events that occur in the world, being that he such a lofty and elevated Being. 3. That H’ has no ability to overcome nature.

We know from the Hagadda that the ten plagues are divided into three groups. At the beginning of each group, H’ expresses to Moshe that with these plagues Paroh will be forced to acknowledge and accept H’ total supremacy in the world and over nature. Before the first group the Posuk says בזאת תדע כי אני ה', ‘so that Paroh should know I am H’’. This is in direct response to Paroh’s first claim, that H’ does not exist. The purpose of the first three plagues is to confirm the existence if H’. Therefore, these plagues involve the Nile, the supposed god of the Egyptians, thereby showing that there is a being more powerful than the god of Egypt.

At the beginning of the second group of plagues H’ says למען תדע כי אני ה' בקרב הארץ, ‘so that Paroh will know I am H’ amidst the land’. This comes as a response to Paroh’s second claim that even if H’ exists, He is not actively supervising matters in the world. Therefore, H’ says ‘I am H’ amidst the land’, in other words actively involved in everything that happens in the world. That is why in this group of plagues we are informed that H’ separated between Yisroel and the Egyptians, as a way of proving His personal supervision of events in the world.

Finally, before the final group of plagues H’ says that this will show Paroh כי אין כמוני בכל הארץ, ‘there is nothing on Earth like H’’. This rebuts Paroh’s claim that H’ does not have the ability to overcome nature. We now understand why the Redemption must involve the process of the ten plagues. Why, though, does the Parsha end before the plagues have been completed?

The answer is that although Paroh has not come to a full awareness of these three fundamental principles, by the end of the Parsha he has begun to acknowledge the veracity of these ideas. After the plague of hailstorms has all but destroyed the Egyptian land, Paroh exclaims to Paroh חטאתי הפעם, ה' הצדיק ואני ועמי הרשעים, ‘I have sinned, H’ is righteous and my People and I are wicked’. This amounts to the acceptance that there is indeed an infinite and omnipotent G-D. This is not just another step in the process of the ten plagues; this is a significant milestone in the Redemption as a whole and serves as a most appropriate place to end the Parsha.

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